Maryland mother Ruth Scully was confronted with one of the worst nightmares a parent can face. It started when her two-year-old son Nolan couldn’t fight off a stuffy nose. At first they thought it was just the sniffles, but it kept getting worse until he could barely breathe. Then a CAT scan showed the terrible truth: Nolan, who was now three, had rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare and very aggressive form of cancer.
It soon became clear that Nolan’s days were numbered. He fought bravely but in vain. After a year and a half, Nolan died in his mother’s arms. In her struggle to come to terms with his loss, she shared her grief in a moving post on Facebook. She described the last hours after the medical staff explained how bad things were:
“The Mestatic Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma was spreading like wild fire. She explained at this time she didn’t feel his Cancer was treatable as it had become resistant to all treatment options we had tried and the plan would be to keep him comfortable as he was deteriorating rapidly.
After a while, I composed myself and went into Nolan’s room. He was sitting in ‘Mommy’s Red Chair’ watching YouTube on his Tablet. I sat down with him and put my head up against his and had the following conversation:
Me: Poot, it hurts to breathe doesn’t it?
Nolan: Weeeelll…. yeah.
Me: You’re in a lot of pain aren’t you baby?
Nolan: (looking down) Yeah.
Me: Poot, this Cancer stuff sucks. You don’t have to fight anymore.
Nolan: (Pure Happiness) I DONT??!! But I will for you Mommy!!
Me: No Poot!! Is that what you have been doing?? Fighting for Mommy??
Nolan: Well DUH!!
Me: Nolan Ray, what is Mommy’s job?
Nolan: To keep me SAFE! (With a big grin)
Me: Honey … I can’t do that anymore here. The only way I can keep you safe is in Heaven. (My heart shattering)
Nolan: Sooooo I’ll just go to Heaven and play until you get there! You’ll come right?
Me: Absolutely!! You can’t get rid of Mommy that easy!!
Nolan: Thank you Mommy!!! I’ll go play with Hunter and Brylee and Henry!!
The next day he was resting, as he slept most of the days after. We had Hospice on board, all his IV medications, even his DNR signed. (I cannot explain to you what signing an Emergency Responder ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ order for your angelic son feels like. ) When he woke up we had the van packed and I had his shoes in my hand to take him home for the evening. We just wanted ONE more night together. But as he woke, he gently put his hand on mine and said ‘Mommy, it’s ok. Let’s just stay here ok?’ My 4 year old Hero was trying to make sure things were easy for me….
About 9:00pm …I asked Nolan if I could get in the shower, as I was not allowed to leave him and Mommy had to be touching him at all times. He said ‘Ummmm ok Mommy. Have Uncle Chris come sit with me and I’ll turn this way so I can see you.’ I stood at the bathroom door, turned to him and said ‘Keep looking right here Poot, I’ll be out in two seconds.’ He smiled at me. I shut the bathroom door. They said the moment the bathroom door clicked he shut his eyes and went into a deep sleep, beginning the end of life passing.
When I opened the bathroom door, his Team was surrounding his bed and every head turned and looked at me with tears in their eyes. They said ‘Ruth, he’s in a deep sleep. He can’t feel anything.’ His respirations were extremely labored, his right lung had collapsed and his oxygen dropped.
I ran and jumped into bed with him and put my hand on the right side of his face. Then a miracle that I will never forget happened….
My angel took a breath, opened his eyes, smiled at me and said ‘I Love You Mommy,’ turned his head towards me and at 11:54 pm Sgt. Rollin Nolan Scully passed away as I was singing ‘You are My Sunshine’ in his ear.
He woke up out of a coma to say he loved me with a smile on his face!”
Here you can read her whole story:
This moving experience has touched people’s hearts all over the world. When mothers call their little tykes “angel,” this story shares some key insight as to what they mean. Children have hidden depths and big hearts.
Ruth was so courageous to share these moments — of this beautiful boy, her great loss, and the incredible love between a mother and child.